MASON, Ohio -- How good have Simona Halep's last 12 months been? So good that Halep didn't even have to swing a racket to move up to a career-high No. 2 in the new WTA rankings. The 22-year-old opted to skip last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal after winning the Bucharest Open immediately after making the semifinals at Wimbledon. But former No. 2 Li Na pulled out of the U.S. Open swing and couldn't defend her points earned from making the Rogers Cup semifinals last year, causing her to slip behind Halep to No. 3.
"It's a big day," she joked as she sat down to talk to reporters at the Western and Southern Open. "It's a big thing for me. I'm honest and I can say it. Still for me the ranking is not very important. More important is the titles and my dream is to play [the WTA Finals] in Singapore."
Venus Williams is back in the top 20 for the first time since March 2013 after reaching the final of the Rogers Cup. She edges ahead of Sloane Stephens this week, and sits behind her sister Serena as the No. 2 ranked American. Sixteen years after they debuted on tour, Serena and Venus are back to being the top-ranked Americans. Their incredible story continues.
Other notable movers
• CoCo Vandeweghe is up to a career-high No. 38 after making the quarterfinals in Montreal, beating Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic en route. She was ranked outside the top 100 before Miami in March.
• Sorana Cirstea made the Rogers Cup final last year, but this year she lost in the first round. As a result, she plummeted 44 spots to No. 80. Ouch.
• Shelby Rogers makes her top 100 debut at No. 86. Last week Rogers qualified in Montreal, and then ousted Eugenie Bouchard 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 to make the third round.
• Heather Watson began the season ranked outside the top 100 and is now up to No. 46, just seven spots away from her career-high.